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I played my second game against the tyranids yesterday. All I can say is: Yikes. It pays to know your enemy and boy did I do some learning.
1) I won't go rushing an Incubi/warrior retinue up against a carnifex next time. I needed agonisers to get through all those wounds, the punishers were inneffective. My wyches and dracon are gonna be teamed up next time. T8 or T9 is, indeed, very tough.
2) I thought standing behind the forest counted as being in cover. Nope! The nids could see 6" through it. Should of got half my squad in the woods if I wanted that cover save en-route to the other monster on the field. My wyches were killed by gaunt fire. Hideous mistake...but now I know better!
3) Learn unified and ruthless target selection. What should I have targeted first? There were 2 lots of slow nids in 2 blind areas: A MC with 20-odd gaunts or 3 warriors, a fex and a Zoanthrope? I chose the latter but was too naive of their toughness in trying to make my statement. I could have brought everyting to bear on them, didn't and was utterly smashed by turn 3.
But it was great fun, even though I was utterly decimated.
Just for future reference you cannot see through area terrain regardless of its size and the units ability to see so many inches into it. Therefore you should have been safe unless you were standing actaully in it. Refer to Pg 21 BGB...
The best way to beat nids is target those annoying synapse creatures... From there everything else will need to pass Ld tests to move otherwise they will have to skulk (including fexes)... the excpetions being things like genestealers, biovores and lictors (I think).
Wyches with a succubus with an agoniser are great for taking out fexes in CC and fare well against genestealers as well.
Incubi are best used against Tyranid warriors really... and the lesser creatures. They have no real chance against Genestealers and fexes.
Just some tips for you. Although I think that you have learnt that Nids can be a painful army to deal with
I have to say that Tyranids are the one army I have played the least, perhaps 4 times now and I am batting .500 against them so take what I have to say as you will. The problems I had the most trouble with were the "shooty" lists. The CC lists I knew I could go toe-to-toe with as long as I chose the match-ups. But shooty nids, I can't help you there.
Tyranids are the one army I would definitely have to say you really need to pick your battles wisely as you obviously found out. Experience is your best teacher and I would have been surprised if you could have pulled a win against a decent nid player - yah, you got to have to know your enemy.
One of my games I threw the Incubi and Lord into a "tarpit" of gaunts. At first I thought the overwhelming number of attacks the gaunts were going to get was going to get them killed but I found against these lowly troop choices that the Incubi were able to kill enough gaunts and they rarely had any gaunts left alive to strike back. I did this for about 3 turns, kept killing enough gaunts so they hardly struck back and I finally killed them all! I think Incubi and a Lord are fantastic at killing "Troop" choices in general and its still a good idea as long as they are not Gene Stealers.
Wyches - as you discovered, they match up well with the monstrous creatures. If you got a good size squad of wyches they can certainly match up with most carnifex's (except those that are geared for cc, those you need to shoot!). If any of the wyches have the "strike first" random drug then I would look to match these wyches and any lord to fight gene stealers.
Raider squads - keep them on the raider and try to get as much shooting as possible why you fade backwards, don't disembark until the raider crashes. Foot squads are going to end up being toast but again, try to shoot as much as possible.
I used mandrakes and they did better rapid-firing into weak armor nids - they did really well against the termaguants (in which I only shot once and charged them, easily destroyed the squad).
One other positive experience I had was with using Haemoculi with combat drugs against genestealers. I took the "re-roll" and "strike first" drug and the poison attacks killed 3 to 4 genestealers each (I usually run them in pairs). In 2 instances the Haemoculi alone were able to kill all the stealers in strike back range and my opponent gave up charging the Haemys. Not sure if you play with them but that was in one of my "Coven" lists using 6 Haemoculi on drugs.
Wish I had more experience to share with you but soon I feel you will learn their army and learn how to deal with them (then you can come back here and help me out!). Don't get disappointed, I say play this guy again soon and try different things (experience is always the best teacher).
Taking out the weak swarms is usually no problem for me, splinter rifles excel at this. Its the MCs and shooty warriors that give me hell; they bring down raiders, drop 5" templates, and generally wreak havoc. Wyches are good if you can get them close, otherwise, darklances do the trick. The best way to fight nids, as with any other army, is to make the units do what they werent supposed to do, ie get into melee with the venom cannon/barbed strangler fex, and blast genestealers from far away.
For the sins of the past.
For the sins of our fathers.
For the sins of ourselves.
Thanks for the info so far guys! I am not disappointed in the DE, my tactics were found wanting this time and that's cool. I played more bravado than sense and I just couldn't hold myself back from taking it to the nid fellas elite/heavy support. I'd watched him play against the Tau before our game and I just couldn't believe how stagnant both forces were. Move a little here, shoot a little there, never assault, move away from each other, repeat process...this dragged on for 6 turns and neither side were making any leeway whatsoever. It was a defend situation or something like that with neither side making any sort of committed offense. I couldn't tell who was defending until the nid fella said"Yes!! Successfully defended!!"
That isn't the way I want to play and it rattled the nid guy. "I'm already being assaulted!?It's only turn 2!" he said incredulously. His fex was big and strong but once he was in H2H he was kind of a soft touch. He'd been kitted out for shooting so his 2 claw attacks, while hard, didn't touch the Incubi in my retinue till turn 3.
The fex would have had a much tougher time with wyches, succubus and a dracon. If I'd played my hand that way, the fex would've been eliminated and I could most likely have consolidated into the Zoanthrope that had piggy backed on it. Then I'd have ripped out the heart of the nids and could have gone for the guts on the other side of the table. Could have, should have, it is all moot now but I have a better feel for what will work in the future. Knowledge is power!!
Bring on next Tuesday!!
I have always found that movement is the key always in games. I remember playing a friend of mine in a GW store... three straight turns and not a shot fired as we tried to get into position.
If I am not mistaken and I could be... if you have only 2 models in the terrain that is all that can be killed as the rest aren't in view but don't quote me on that.
One of my favorite armies to use against Tyranids are "Armies of Shadows" Sure you are going to lose more than you win. But the total confusion it causes your oppoisition is priceless.
What can they do when shooty armies and asssault armies have nothing to shoot/assault
I think when it comes down to it with Dark Eldar... it is know thy enemy. And you are halfway there... then the other half is knowing your army. But that will only come with experince and reading every army book and thinking of oppoisition nasty combos.
I have too much time on my hands.
One of my friends plays Nids, and out of our group of 5, his is the only army that i can not beat. He has the perfect mix of MCs that shoot the crap out of me, Lictors that assault and tie up my shooty units, and enough little guys (and fast!) to tie up everything else thats still alive. So you aren't alone in getting decimated by nids.
Forest is considered area terrain. In the current ruleset, you're right that you can see up to 6 inches INTO area terrain. Further than that, you can't see them.
However, (strangely enough) even if area terrain is less than 6 inches wide, it's not possible to see THROUGH it. So if the shots' line of sight was crossing the forest, and you weren't in it, the overseer was correct that you weren't in cover.
However, you should have been entirely out of line of sight. And since you weren't in line of sight, you shouldn't have been able to be shot.
Oh well, live and learn. Sounds like you had fun at least. Incidentally, tau are frustrating opponents. I have a friend who plays a highly mobile battlesuit and hammerhead army, and he usually gets at least one good round of shooting at me before I can close. That's a great deal of pain.
Here is my interpretation.
If the nids were outside the forest on the north side of it (for example) they can see 6" into it. If they saw the 2 wyches in the forest (as they were less than 6" from the north edge) then only those 2 wyches will die from shooting. The other wyches on the outside, the south side, are not in view as the nids cannot see through area terrain (no matter how deep the forest is, it can be 4" deep and the nids cannot see completely through it no matter what - kroot can see 12" out of cover but even they cannot shoot completely through a 4" thick piece of area terrain.
If the nids were in the forest with you, then they can see the 2 wyches provided that they were less than 6" away. Also, if the nids in the same forest have less than 6" of cover between them and wyches, they can then also see the wyches out of cover (as the nids are not seeing completely through the forest as their line of sight started in the forest and then can see beyond it).
So yes, your wyches were not in cover but the nids could only kill those 2 they can see no matter how shots are fired at the wyches - so I hope I understand the situation correctly.
Hope that wasn't confusing.
As a primary Nid player, the things I would fear most from Dark Eldar are the raiders and ravagers. DE skimmers are quite vulnerable to monstrous-creature level shooting but dark lances are just the ticket for killing them off - I'd expect to lose 1 - 1.5 carnifexes per shooting phase from dark lances. Ravagers should just own the lower-level broods - warriors, genestealers, gaunts. And once all my big shooty was gone, there's very little I could do to properly run skimmers since they're so hard to hit in cc.
Talos vs carnifex - the talos has an edge, I think, due to its higher WS, reasonable expectation of more attacks, and far higher I.
Wyches vs genestealers - with the right drugs this should go to the wyches. Stealers will certainly test the wyches' inv save in combat though!
DE HQ types vs nid HQ types - choose punishers. An archon or archite with a punisher and a shadowfield should be able to finish off a hive tyrant, but the HT would only need to get in one successful wound for the instakill, so don't roll 1s! Haemy scissorhands will probably not produce enough unsaved wounds to kill a HT before it crushes the haemy, particularly since the HT will be striking first.
Close combat vs carnifexes - punishers again, I think. A couple of warrior squads with punisher-wielding sybarites and blasters should work well: shoot it down to two wounds on the way in, then chop it up with punishers.
With effective use of vehicles the DE should have a speed advantage over the swarm but it's nowhere near as big as it would be over MEQs or Orks. Most troops fleet, giving them a 13" - 18" threat range, and beasts like hormies and raveners make that 19" - 24". Fear raveners.
Fear also the trend towards shooting among Nid forces, since even 3 nid warriors can pump out 12 shots at S4 that reroll misses and reroll to wound. Target DE warriors would take about ten wounds from such a volley and lose about 7. Remember too nids in synapse automatically pass leadership tests, and so can't be pinned. The grotesque 'always falls back' thing should still work, I think.